Top 10 White Wines Under $20 – Summer 2013 Edition


[NOTE: Hit the link in the header for the latest version of our Top 10 Whites Under $20]

It’s time for the next update of The Reverse Wine Snob Top 10 White Wines Under $20 list, just in time for summer! This update brings a ton of new wine to the list of 12 wines. (Yep, that’s right, there are 12 wines on the Top 10 list…thanks to a 3 way tie for the 10th spot.) In fact, we’ve had so much good wine recently that only 3 wines from the previous list even made the cut this time around! Check out the full list below and get your summer sipping on…

A lively little number.

10) TIE 2011 Pazo Torrado Albarino – Made For Summertime Sipping on the Patio
100% Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain and available for around $13. This is patio wine at its best — pure, refreshing, easy to drink AND interesting. Salty, green apple aromas with complementary floral notes lead into a lively texture with fresh acidity and lots of lime, green apple and citrus flavors when tasting. It ends with a nice clean finish and good length. If you haven’t discovered Albarino yet, this is a great place to start. Plus, the fact that Albarino is one of the chosen few white wines produced and labeled as a single varietal in Spain should give you a little more motivation to check it out.

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Wildly Good!

10) TIE 2010 Wild Horse Unbridled Chardonnay – As Good As Chardonnay Gets.
100% Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, California. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Chardonnay. I love the fruit, and hate the heavy buttery oak. (OK, hate is probably too strong a word, but it’s not my favorite.) So you would think a Chardonnay aged in 100% French oak wouldn’t be high on my list, but in this case the oak aging enhances everything about this wine instead of overpowering it. Green apple, pear, lemon custard, a really nice minerality, excellent acidity and a lively mouthfeel are just a few of things you’ll find in this excellent wine.

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

A wonderful white Bordeaux.

10) TIE 2008 Chateau le Thil Comte Clary Blanc – Delectable
The name Bordeaux conjures up images of expensive red wines, but what you may not know is that there is a whole world of affordable white Bordeaux out there. One of the most common blends is Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon which is exactly what we have here. Delectable aromas of honey, lemon and flowers lead into a really wonderful, delicious mix of flavors and a pleasing texture when tasting. A nice, lightly spicy mineral streak lasts all the way into the refreshing finish which itself features some long lasting tropical fruit. Deliciously delectable!

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.


Refreshingly complex.

9) 2010 Cantina Terlano Pinot Bianco – Something Special From Alto Adige
Maybe it’s the name but Pinot Bianco, AKA Pinot Blanc, just kind of sounds unexciting, doesn’t it? This 100% Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige is anything but. Available for around $15, it begins with pleasing, fragrant aromas of apple, pear, chalk and a little honeysuckle. Tasting the wine reveals a really nice spicy mineral streak on top of a wonderful, complex mouthfeel. Lush flavors of tart apple, pear and melon combine with a bright acidity in the mouth. Chalky minerals and citrus zest reveal themselves on the medium-long finish. A delicious and refreshingly complex wine!

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Why should Mimosas
have all the fun?

8) 2011 Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato – A Beauty for Breakfast
It’s not often you can recommend a wine for breakfast, but this blend of Gordo Muscat and Black Muscat from Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia is a perfect fit. Only 5.5% alcohol with natural effervescence and good acidity, it’s a great match for all kinds of breakfast and brunch foods. Strawberry, peach, watermelon, rose and ginger ale aromas on the nose, the wine tastes delightfully fun with fresh and fizzy fruit flavors. Moderately sweet, but nowhere near cloying, and with just the right amount of bubbles, this wine is sure to please. It ends with more sweet fruit notes that linger a long time. Available widely for around $10.

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Pinot Grigio that tastes good,
really good.

7) 2009 Domaines Schlumberger Les Princes Abbes Pinot Gris – Pinot Gris From Alsace, The Better Pinot Grigio
If you’re in the mood for a little more substance and complexity than so much of the watered down, lifeless Pinot Grigio that’s out there, then you owe it to yourself to check out Pinot Gris from Alsace. One of my favorites from the area, this wine begins with aromas of earthy apple, quince and white peach with hints of smoke and lemon. When tasting the wine you’re treated to a lovely, rich and even a bit chalky mouthfeel. Lovely mineral notes also add intrigue. What’s interesting is that many times a wine with a thick mouthfeel like this would be very sweet, but that’s not the case here. A wine that just gets better and better with every sip.

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Fantastic! Intriguing!

6) 2011 Nuraghe Crabioni Vermentino di Sardegna – Excellent Italian Whites.
Fantastic and intriguing, fantastically intriguing, or intriguingly fantastic — take your pick, just do yourself a favor and seek this one out! When you do you’ll find a 100% Vermentino from Sardinia, Italy that presents quite an intriguing aroma in the glass. Lemon, almonds, dried herbs, sea salt and mineral notes to name just a few. Tasting reveals good acidity, good balance, salty and spicy mineral notes and a rich and soft texture that is really pleasing to the mouth. Tropical fruit and lemon carries into the finish where a touch of fennel also appears. This wine can be found for as low as $14.

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.


Crisp and Clean!

5) 2011 Indaba Chenin Blanc – A Steal At $7
100% Chenin Blanc from Western Cape, South Africa. This wine offers insane value at a cost of only $7. Medium-bodied with a thick and luscious mouthfeel, crisp and clean flavors of zesty citrus and melon, nice minerality and even a bit of spice, it’s hard imaging anyone not enjoying this wine. At the same time it still offers enough complexity to please even your most discriminating guests. Stock up!

Buy this wine online from our featured sponsorMarketview Liquor or see a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Just about the
perfect patio wine.

4) 2011 Esporao Monte Velho White – A Summertime Slam Dunk!
Another perfect patio sipper, this time from Portugal. This wine is a blend of Antao Vaz, Roupeiro and Perrum, a trio of grape varieties native to Portugal. Available for around $8, this wine begins with a fresh and fruity aroma of apple, pear, white peach and a little citrus zest. Tasting reveals a fresh, fruity and easy to drink wine with crisp acidity and a nice spicy mineral streak that adds interest. It ends with lots of citrus soaked mineral notes that last a surprisingly long time. This one will be particularly good when the heat really ratchets up in August. A summertime slam dunk!

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.


Buy It By The Case!

3) 2009 Trimbach Riesling – A Delicately Delicious Bulk Buy!
100% Riesling from Alsace, France that can be found for as low as $14. The first question you may ask is whether this wine is French, German or a combo of the two. My response would be, who cares, it’s delicious! The wine opens with delicate and enticing floral, tropical fruit and apricot aromas. The wine tastes simply delicious and features a great mouthfeel, a lovely texture and excellent balance. It is crisp and clean but still rich and substantial. It ends with a very long, dry finish. Those rich flavors just keep going and going. You’ll want to buy this gem by the case.

Buy this wine online from our featured sponsor Marketview Liquor or see a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

So easy to drink
and so delicous…

2) 2011 Argillae Orvieto – Exploring The Indigenous White Varieties of Italy.
A blend of 60% Trebbiano and Grechetto plus 40% Chardonnay, Malvasi di Candia and Sauvignon from Umbria, Italy. This is a recent find that we absolutely adore. It begins with aromas of citrus, delicate floral notes and a hint of tropical fruit. The wine tastes very fresh, rich and flavorful in the mouth. There are even a few hints of nuts and a light spicy minerality that comes out on the excellent finish. Easy to drink, delicious and available for as little as $12.

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.


1) 2011 Stadlmann Gruner Veltliner – Gruner Love

Make your mouth come alive.

We’ve long adored Gruner Veltliner from Austria, and this one offers a stunning combination of taste and value. It begins with an enticing aroma of green apple, tropical fruit and a little peach as well as white pepper and some mineral notes. It’s when tasting the wine however, that it just comes alive. The first thing that stands out is that it is bright, clean and delicious with a fabulous, refreshing mouthfeel. You’ll also find great acidity and tasty tart fruit along with slightly salty minerals and a little white pepper and other spice. It ends with wonderful length — lime soaked mineral notes linger in your mouth for a long time. One of the few white wines I’ve been tempted to buy by the case, this is truly an unforgettable wine. Available for around $14.
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

The top 10 list is subject to change at any time as new wines are reviewed and as vintages become unavailable, but it is typically updated once or twice a year. Many of the wines on the list were samples submitted for review, please click through the links to the full reviews for more details. Cheers!

Other recent editions of the Top 10 Under $20 lists:

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